Who needs Christmas when you have...


Heir to the flip & fuck legacy, behold the postmodern bean bag chair in all its orange glory

Has anyone else noticed that BACK 2 SCHOOL is, like, a new holiday in the retail world? I remember getting ready to go away to college, and thinking my mom was crazy because she wanted to take me to Target (what was that, anyway...I'd never been there) and buy me, like, a hot pot, and some extra-long sheets, a few plastic dishes (not knowing I'd eat 90% of my meals off them after cashing in meal plan), shower caddy, bathrobe, flip flops, and all the rest. Why would I need all of that stuff? Would I ever really use the rice steamer?

Nowadays, back to school is everywhere, and not just for new freshmen. I will confess that I secretly love the "back to dorm" theme in advertisements, because:

a) It reminds me of carefree days of yesterdecade.

b) Now it's my job to be that cool--albeit slightly freaky and scary--professor that makes college so much fun that you'll want to get two graduate degrees and then TEACH.

Anyone else notice a slew of back to school stuff this year? Care to share any memories of packin' it up, and movin' on into the dorm? Do I smell peachtree schnapps? Do you know where I left my keys?


wickedpen said…
Right there with you. August comes around an I start noticing the back to school propaganda, the nifty storage ideas for desks, odd boxes and crates, laundry bags, and desk lamps. (and while I HAVE all these things, it’s just not the same.) I think it’s so charming, that start of the year, because it always felt like truly anything could happen. It was almost like a clean slate. I also get oddly nostalgic for grade-school back to school shopping trips (this was why last September I wound up spending over $150 on knee socks alone at Carsons.) The shiny new textbooks, the handwriting in your notebooks still all pristine and neat.. It was like starting all over again. That feeling of possibility.

Of course perhaps I like it too much given I’m still in school after all this time. And even when I wasn’t taking classes, I was still working in schools (elementary and then college) where I was subject to the same yearly cycles. In fact, I realize now I’ve been away from them which is sort of frightening in and of itself. I see those freshmen at Columbia every year, and while, god, I’d never want to have to do that again, I’m just a little envious. Even in my apartment building, so close to Loyola, I eye the girls carrying their bed-in- a bags and their plastic crates just a bit wistfuly.
P. J. said…
Back-to-school was always the most embarrassing time for me, because it always revealed more about my parents than I really needed to know. For instance, during my undergrad years, my dad would help move me into my dorm room, and after I was safely tucked away, he'd go through all the things I might've forgotten, and he'd inevitably say, in one of those voices that's not intended to be a yell but always is, "DID YOU REMEMBER TO PACK YOUR TOILET ARTICLES, BUD?!" That's right, he called me Bud. And I had no idea what "toilet articles" were but he meant stuff like razor blades, etc., and by the way whenever I think about doing anything involving the world "toilet," razor blades do not come to mind--and yes, I am referencing the "Boston Carver."

My mom, on the other hand, jumped into the first-day-of-school kick when I started my M.A. program, handing me a flimsy steak knife and telling me, "I'll get you a fork and a spoon later this week," because she assumed that, in two years of grad school, I would eat all my meals ALONE and with the same three utensils. *Sigh.* Parents.
Byf said…
The dorms at Michigan State had these extra-long beds that you had to buy special sheets for. Is this common at colleges? I thought it was stupid, because those sheets were hard to find.
Justin Evans said…
I just bought 180 notebooks for my high school students. 9 cents a piece at Wal-Mart. I love the looks on their faces when they don't have an excuse for doing journals in my class on the first day of school.

I also bought myself a really cool stereo for my classroom.

I bought over $300 (sale prices) of clothes at Kohl's, but paid less than $200 because I opened a charge account. I noticed a mistake in their pricing, and now I actually have store credit, too!

That's right. I'm a man and I am excited about a clothes sale. Okay, I am more excited because my wife is happy, but I still think it's cool to save money on clothes when you are living off a teacher's salary.
Melissa said…
I've always observed the back 2 school holiday because I've always been connected to school in some way. After college I taught, then after I quit teaching I was still married to a principal. And now that my own child is starting pre-school for the first time I'm again engaging in buying back 2 school clothes and supplies. By my estimate, it will be around 2035 before fall doesn't mean back 2 school for me. :)
Sandra said…
I have a 10 year old so of course every year usually through out the summer I'm buying Lyndsey new clothes, so that it doesn't all hit me at one time in August. Buying school clothes for a growing girl is not cheap. Lyndsey outgrew everyone of her pants, shirts and shoes since May b/c she gained 7 lbs and grew 2". I spent well over $300 on back to school items from bras, underwear, socks, shoes, back pack, items for locker, school supplies, belts, pants, skirts and shirts.

I remember every August my mom taking me school clothes shopping. This was one thing she did as the other parent in the divorce every school year. In fact, my mother bought most of my clothes. Just about every time I went to visit her I'd get something new. I also remember it was a big deal picking out the outfit you were going to wear the 1st day of school. I vividly remember what I wore the 1st day of high school. :)
Xtine said…
that whole back to school shopping thing has brainwashed me. Every August I feel the urge to go back to school shopping and buy stuff for my fall wardrobe. I think this whole 'back to school' thing is a way the retailers get us when we are young so we can go and spend our money on stuff we dont need when we are old and have real money. I'm hooked. Gotta go now, the mall awaits.
brandijay said…
I had to tear myself away from the school-supplies-special-sale-aisle in Walgreens yesterday over lunch. I wanted to buy a package of Sharpies because they came in new colors, and with a retractable one. I don't even use Sharpies! They just looked pretty.

p.s. Justin you are my hero... every high school kid deserves a teacher who gives them a notebook to write in on the first day :)
What an excellent observation. I agree with you 100%. In fact, back-to-school is one of the 3 holidays each year when I give my nanny a bonus. The reason I do this is because she has 3 kids of school age and supplies and clothes add up to way more than her weekly salary. I used to pick out supplies, etc. for them myself, but now that I have a child of my own, I have turned it all over to that family with just a check.

As for my personal memories of school starting, I, too, vividly remember not only what I wore to school my first day of high school, but also my first day of 4th grade (5th - 8th grade I went to a private school, so I had a uniform for the first day of school during those years). I have no recollection of attire before 4th grade or after 9th grade for some reason.

Before I started high school, I saved up over $100 in babysitting money to buy myself a Louis Vitton purse for my freshman year. Since I was starting a new school in an affluent community, I thought I would not fit in without a good purse. But on my first day, I was the only one with such a great purse. Everyone else basically looked ultra casual and - frankly - looked like crap. I was so relieved that I didn't need to dress up for the school. I carried the purse for a while and it has been in my closet ever since. It is *vintage* now, so I don't ever plan to get rid of it.

Those are my most vivid starting-school memories for the evening. . .
Frank said…
All I've got to say is:

Man, that looks like a comfy chair.